What Makes A Swear?

Today is Monday, the twenty-third of August, 2021.

Peace be with you.

Day 23,174

Fourteen days until Labor Day.

I’ve already written about our weekend, and the day we had yesterday, so there’s not much personal stuff to write, today. This is one of my days off, this week, so I’ll be taking care of some household chores, and basically just hanging out. I work tomorrow from 11:15-8:15 and Wednesday, from 1-5. Then I will be off until next Monday, when I will work the 9:15-6:15 shift. And while it seems that I might be getting shorted hours this week, I’m not really. Hurst’s pay week goes from Friday-Thursday. So last Saturday’s hours are actually on this week’s pay schedule, which will give me exactly twenty hours. The, next week, I have Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday on that week’s schedule, and will also work that Saturday, which will be on the following week. Confused, yet? I was, too, at first, but I get it, now.

Today is Cuban Sandwich Day. To my knowledge, I have never had one of those. In face, I only know of one place with ten miles of my house where I could get one. I hear they are really good, though.

The word for today is prelapsarian. I swear I’m not making this up. I have always known this as a theological word, having to do with something that happened before the Genesis fall of man. The definition for today, though, is “characteristic of or pertaining to any innocent or carefree period.”

Today’s quote is from Epictus: “People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them.”

And now for today’s birthdays.

1754 Louis XVI, King of France (1774-93) eventually guillotined, born in Versailles, Yvelines, France (d. 1793)

1869 Edgar Lee Masters, American poet and novelist (Spoon River Anthology), born in Garnett, Kansas (d. 1950)
1900 Ernst Krenek, Austrian-American composer (Johnny Spielt Auf), born in Vienna, Austria (d. 1991)
1900 Malvina Reynolds, American folk singer and songwriter (Morningtown Ride, Little Boxes), born in San Francisco, California (d. 1978)
1912 Gene Kelly, American actor (An American in Paris; On The Town) and dancer (Singin' in the Rain), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (d. 1996)

1917 Tex Williams, American country-western singer, born in Ramsey, Illinois (d. 1985)
1922 Jean Darling, American child actress (Our Gang), born in Santa Monica, California (d. 2015)
1929 Vera Miles, American actress (Lila Crane-Psycho, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance), born in Boise City, Oklahoma

1931 Barbara Eden, American actress (Dream of Jeannie), born in Tucson, Arizona

1932 Mark Russell, American political satirist and pianist (Real People), born in Buffalo, New York
1934 Christian "Sonny" Jurgensen, American NFL quarterback (Wash Redskins) and sportscaster, born in Wilmington, North Carolina
1936 Rudy Lewis, American pop vocalist (The Drifters - "Up On The Roof"; "On Broadway), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 1964)
1936 Henry Lee Lucas, American drifter and serial killer, born in Blacksburg, Virginia (d. 2001)
1938 Roger Greenaway, English composer and record producer (I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing), born in Fishponds, England
1940 Richard Sanders, American actor (Les Nessman -WKRP), born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
1940 Tony Bill, American actor (What Really Happened to the Class of '65), born in San Diego, California
1943 Bobby Diamond, American actor (Duncan Gillis-Dobie Gillis), born in Los Angeles, California
1945 Rayfield Wright, American football player, born in Griffin, Georgia
1946 Keith Moon, British rock drummer (The Who - "Bell Boy"), born in London, England (d. 1978)

1949 Rick Springfield [Springthorpe], Australian singer ("Speak to the Sky"; "Jessie's Girl") and actor (General Hospital), born in Balmain, New South Wales
1949 Shelley Long, American actress (Diane in Cheers, Money Pit), born in Fort Wayne, Indiana
1951 Jimi Jamison, American rock singer (Survivor - "High On You"), born in Durant, Mississippi (d. 2014)
1958 Julio Franco, oldest regular position player in MLB history, born in Hato Mayor, Dominican Republic
1961 Dean DeLeo, American guitarist (Stone Temple Pilots), born in Montclair, New Jersey
1970 River Phoenix, American actor (Little Nikta, Stand By Me), born in Madras, Oregon (d. 1993)

1970 Jay Mohr, American actor and comedian, born in Verona, New Jersey
1971 Gretchen Whitmer, American politician, Governor of Michigan (2019-), born in Lansing, Michigan
1974 Christian Beranek, American graphic novelist and actor, born in Council Bluffs, Iowa
1975 Eliza Carthy, English singer and fiddler, born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom
1977 Nicole Bobeck, American figure skater (US Champ 1995), born in Chicago, Illinois
Malvina Reynolds 1900-1978
Tex Williams 1917-1985
Keith Moon 1946-1978


"O Lord,
you have mercy on all.
Take away my sins,
and mercifully kindle in me
the fire of your Holy Spirit.
Take away my heart of stone
and give me a heart of flesh,
a heart to love and adore you,
a heart to delight in you,
to follow and to enjoy you, for Christ’s sake.
(Prayer for A Renewed Heart, St. Ambrose)

The LORD, the Mighty One, is God, and he has spoken; he has summoned all humanity from where the sun rises to where it sets.
From Mount Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines in glorious radiance. Our God approaches, and he is not silent.
Fire devours everything in his way, and a great storm rages around him.
(Psalms 50:1-3 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. for Your perfect beauty, as You shine forth from Your holy city
2. for Your justice, and the hope that it will prevail over all the earth
3. for Your many Names, and what they mean in our lives
4. for Your forgiveness when we misuse Your Name (or take it in vain)
5. for the number of years that You give us, no matter how long or short

Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year



Your name, O LORD, endures forever; your fame, O LORD, is known to every generation.
(Psalms 135:13 NLT)

I pause, during this quiet moment, to shut out distractions and focus on the presence of the Lord, this morning. Holy Spirit, guide me.


For the director of music. According to mahalath. A maskil of David.

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good.

God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.
Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.

Do all these evildoers know nothing?

They devour my people as though eating bread; they never call on God.
But there they are, overwhelmed with dread, where there was nothing to dread. God scattered the bones of those who attacked you; you put them to shame, for God despised them.

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When God restores his people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!
(Psalms 53:1-6 NIV)


And God spoke all these words:
“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
“You shall have no other gods before me.
“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
(Exodus 20:1-7 NIV)


As I linger over these passages, I rest in the presence of the Lord, looking for words or phrases that speak to me; thoughts that I can pray back to God.

While the opening line of Psalm 53 might cause some folks to cheer, and feel that it legitimizes their usage of the word “fool” to describe, say, an atheist, I would encourage them to continue reading.

The psalm pretty much leaves all of us in a bad spot. “Everyone has turned away,” it says. “all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good.”

And there it is. Even those of us who have always believed in the Lord, have not true “good” that we can credit to our account. The only good we have is that which has been imputed to us by the life, death, and resurrection of our Savior. And, our Savior cautioned us about calling people fools.

So even though King David used the word in this psalm, I daresay we should be careful about being quick to do so, ourselves.

In the Exodus passage, We get the first three of the Ten Commandments, which have to do with our thinking about God, Himself. First, we are to have no other gods before Him. Second, we are to make no image of anything that exists, with the intent of worshiping said image. The KJB rendered this “graven image,” which indicated something carved out of wood or stone. I have seen indications, in the past, that when photography was first introduced, some folks might have rejected it, based on the second command. I do not know if this was actually a thing or not, but it seems possible.

This command does not forbid paintings, photographs, or carvings, such as statues. The context is important. It forbids the intent of bowing down to said carvings or paintings. It forbids having an idol that serves as a “god,” and hearkens back to the first command.

Essentially, the first command covers anything kind of idol, whether it be material, physical, or otherwise. The second command narrows it down a bit, telling us that we should not carve out a “god,” or, perhaps, create one from melted down gold, such as the calf that Aaron created for the people when they got rowdy while Moses was up on the mountain.

The third command is often misunderstood to prohibit a certain combination of swear words. Again, that is not necessarily the intent, although I do not condone or encourage the use of said swears. It goes much deeper than this. I like the NIV translation that tells us not to misuse the name of the Lord. Most of us have heard someone use the name of Jesus as a swear. That would definitely fall into the prohibited category.

But what about “Geez?” Or, perhaps, “Sheesh?” Or even, “Jiminy Cricket?” Or even “OMG!” And let me just throw out there that “Oh, my gosh” isn’t really any better, is it?

I have had conversations with people about swears, before. We all know there are certain words that are considered to be swears. Don’t worry, I’m not going to use them, here. But, we are too much into the “letter of the law” and not enough into the “spirit of the law.” What I mean by that is that “shoot” is just as bad as the word it is intended to replace, when it is used in certain situations.

For example, if you miss your turn while driving. “Oh, shoot,” you might say. Or, you might even say, “fudge!” I tend to say “crap” a lot. What if was say, “Gosh darn it?”

I think my point has been made.

There was this thing Jesus said, once. And before I quote that, let me be open and transparent and say that can, and have been known to, swear with the best of them. But Jesus said this:

All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
(Matthew 5:37 NIV)

Granted, the context is in a discussion about a different kind of swearing, that of swearing oaths. But I believe that the principle can hold here, as well.

May we all do a better job of holding our tongues, and not misusing the names of our God and Savior.

Father, I am grateful to You for Your many Names and what they mean to us. I am also grateful that You are quick to forgive and slow to anger, because I must confess that my tongue is quick to swear, sometimes. It’s not always a “bad” swear, based on popular opinion, but a swear is a swear, right? It is the intent behind the word, not the word, itself, that makes it a swear. So give us grace and help us to control our temper, and help us to make our yes yes and our no no and not feel the need to speak further.

Help us to live freely within principles of Your law. Help us to show a better regard for the care of creation. And I pray specifically for those who are involved in caring for our world.

"Liberating God,
your commandments are well placed -
not before you rescue your people,
so they mistake them as a condition for your mercy,
but only after you save.
That helps me get my obedience straight;
not grudging servitude but a free life I offer in worship to you.


Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.
(2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NLT)

Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away. Who can comprehend the power of your anger? Your wrath is as awesome as the fear you deserve. Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.
(Psalms 90:10-12 NLT)

I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.